A few weeks ago, we welcomed more than 300 new students. And in what may become a brilliant new tradition, we held Convocation outside. It lasted all of 30 minutes before we processed, sans regalia, to a campus-wide picnic where our returning students provided a rousing welcome.
It was glorious. You would have loved it.
Like everyone, we had our operations upended by the pandemic last year. But we wasted no time in adjusting. In fact, we became a national leader in how institutions of higher education should tackle this once-in-a-century pandemic. We reset our academic calendar, inspiring other schools to do the same.
We immediately engaged students to create and enforce new health protocols — a particularly Beloit approach that paid off handsomely with extremely low rates of Covid exposure or transmission.
Faculty re-conceived every single course offered and did so to the highest of standards, knowing that our students were deserving of the very best curriculum, especially in a pandemic.
We reimagined the Beloit Action Plan, aimed at making the highly individualized education that sets Beloit apart even more relevant in today’s fast-changing world. Beloit is now offering:
The Advanced Mentoring Program, or AMP, which connects new students with an advisor within their first 72 hours of depositing.
Career Works, a powerful program connecting college to careers, and students to our alumni through the Power Grid, a group of alumni and friends of the college who have excelled in the professional industries our students are drawn to; and Beloiters Helping Beloiters, which matches seniors with alumni in their fields.
Financial aid packages that help students and their families keep pace with today’s cost of higher education.
The changes are paying off. Even during a global pandemic, Beloit was able to offer students a safe, personal residential campus experience and, as a result, we have beat our enrollment targets for 2021-22.
We’ve just closed out our fiscal year. First, I want to thank every single member of our community who executed at the highest level. We took a tremendous step toward financial stability and long-term viability.
As you know, our five-year financial model governs virtually all economic decisions that we make. It is our map to a healthy future. The plan assumes we will realistically improve enrollment and retention, hold the line on expenses, and raise more unrestricted dollars to help us with the operating budget bottom line.
We are entering the third year of the plan, which has called for operating deficits for the next three years, after which we will cross over the break-even point to sustainable financial health.
The Beloit Action Plan ensures continued enrollment and retention success while the financial plan ensures those successes are translated into long-run financial health. A virtuous cycle if ever there was one.
Through a combination of cost savings and revenue enhancements associated with the pandemic, we eliminated a predicted deficit this year and even realized a small surplus. This tells us that our plans are working, and our financial future looks brighter.
If we stay the course, we will achieve the lofty goals of both the strategic plan and the five-year financial plan.
But there is more to be done. For Beloit to fully implement its Action Plan, we must cover existing financial gaps until enrollment and net tuition revenue fully rebound.
Cam and Renee Murray, both 1980 graduates who met and fell in love here, know what I’m talking about.
“Beloit needs a bigger push to round this corner and make sure generations of students will continue to benefit from Beloit’s unique educational opportunities and culture,” says Cam. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve increased our annual gift this year.”
“The other reason,” added Renee, “is being part of the Beloit family and recognizing how the special interactions when we were students ended up meaning so much. There isn’t a Beloiter we know who doesn’t have a similar story about a professor or advisor who was ‘all in’ and went the extra mile.”
Look for some opportunities in the next few weeks to tell us who was All In for you when you were a Beloit student, and why you’re All In for Beloit College now.
President Scott Bierman